Mark McCarty is a junior at Payson High School and is a true example of a student-athlete.
Most local wrestling enthusiasts know him as a stalwart in the Longhorn lineup at 152 pounds where he is a powerful pinner.
Last season, as a sophomore, he wrestled at 145 pounds where he earned the honor of conference champ and placed third at the state meet.
His interest in wrestling began in elementary school, where he was always involved with the parks and recreation programs.
McCarty was further encouraged by two older brothers, Justin and Matt, who were both Longhorn wrestlers on state championship teams.
As in most wrestling families, grappling took place on the mats at school as well as some brotherly battles in the living room at home.
In the classroom, his academic success is obvious by his 4.0-plus grade-point-average in a very rigorous course of study. As a sophomore, he took Advanced Placement American History, which is offered to juniors as a collegiate course.
I happened to be the instructor and observed his work ethic in the classroom, which was equal to his wrestling intensity.
Consequently, he earned an A in the class and is one of only 3 percent at the national level to score the highest grade possible "5" on the national history exam.
His class load as a junior consists of other advanced courses in science and math to prepare him for a university degree after high school.
Older sisters and brothers are very supportive and lend plenty of encouragement.
Cara, the eldest, is a medical doctor in residency. Justin is employed by an engineering firm. Shauna is in her last year of medical school and Matt is close to graduation and has already been admitted to medical school for 2007.
The academic standard has been set very high by his older siblings and McCarty has certainly met the challenge in the classroom and on the mats.
He has high hopes of wrestling in college while he continues his education.
He has high standards with his goals in focus and a strong work ethic. His aspirations are certainly reachable.
His parents, Steve and Lynnette McCarty, quietly encourage and are very proud of their youngest son.